Sunday, January 4, 2009

Forward...Hoe !!!

Happy New Year to all!!!
I hope your holidays were warm and filled with joy.
Ours were good too. Thanks for asking.

I must mention how well Sweet Husband
did with his gift to me this year!
I got a WMA player (think Ipod)
It seems our library system has bought into
a digital library group and now I can download any book
I want to listen to while I work away in the garden or barn with just my library card number!
I read a lot of books, or listen.
It is just wonderful.. of course it plays tunes as well.
It is so nice to be able to be in the barn without having to
hear 80+ birds squawking at me. You just don't know.
Good job, sweet Husband!

And speaking of working in the garden,

it is that time of year again.

Oh joy!

I have been digging out and clearing out the new garden spot.

I know that digging up wild asters and yanking out miles of

intertangled honeysuckle may not seem like fun to most,

but it winds my clock!

In a few short months I hope this will be a neat and orderly

grouping of heaped beds, some with early crops already growing

and some with cover crops waiting to be turned under.

With nice woodchip paths intertwining and inviting me to walk among the beds.

I am leaving the one wild cherry tree at the back end. It has a nice shape and it will do well as a perch for wildbirds to hunt for tomato hornworms from. I will put a water feature under it as well to water my toads and beneficial bugs as well as the birds. You just can't have enough birds and good bugs and toads in a garden. ever.

This new plot sits in the foundation of an old chicken barn, one of the really big ones. The one that is still standing and that we use is 10,000 sq ft. 250 ft long and 40 ft wide. 5 times bigger than our house.

At one time this place had 23,000 birds. wow.

There is one barn still up and two foundations. We have plans to eventually clear and use both foundations...blueberries, blackberries, grain plots for feed, sunflowers, mangels and massive herb and wildflower beds to draw and feed beneficial insects.

You wouldn't have believed what this plot looked like this summer..a head high tangle of scrub trees, vines, weeds.. you couldn't even begin to walk through it. There were morning glories of every hue, goldenrods, the beautiful wild asters and other wildflower/weeds that I do not know the name of. It was a jungle and I know that I will have the devil's own time trying to keep new weeds from coming up all next summer.

We plan to till it up one good time and release the birds into it to clear up some of the weed seeds and then cover crop it and lay down feed bags and cloth and whatever else we can find the tamp out the new growth. I am under no delusion that it will be easy.

It is also a fairly clay-ey soil which is good in that clay soil is nutrient rich, but bad in that it is soggy and holds water. I am hoping by heaping the beds and adding garden/kitchen compost and composted manure and bedding that I can make it into a fairly quick draining garden.

I still have a way to go, but I have help. This is DaintyPig. She has been doing her best to get the beginning of the clearing underway. And as soon as we move PigPig down from the barn he can help. I think we are going to sell Dainty and PigPig in the spring and use that money to buy the
Tamworths that I have been wanting for so long. I met some nice folks that would be interested in these two and I think they would have a nice home with them. Especially considering the fact that we were going to eat them or their offspring.

Such a sweet girl. She followed behind me all the past two days rooting where I had been digging and just wagging away everytime I spoke sweetly to her.


  1. Oh boy, I feel your pain. We are trying, for the second year, to create a garden out of a former goatery. Nice, because fencing that keeps goats in can also keep chickens out. Not nice in that it has gone wild for the past few decades and the weeds are just terrible. Last year was a complete flop. I gave up even trying to beat my way into it by July. This year I am DETERMINED to make it work. What do you mean by "cover crop?"

  2. A cover crop/green manure planting is a temporary planting of a grass or legume that you turn back into the soil after a few weeks adn then plant again. They ahve a lot of uses.. some break up hardpack soil with their roots, some set nitrogen and some are weed chokes. All add bulk and organic matter into the soil.
    You can use clovers, grasses (winter rye, oats etc.. or buckwheat! I will try winter rye first as it doesn't mind the chill too much and then when it warms up.. buckwheat It grows soo fast. You can plant, grow till and plant again in about a month. It is a great one for choking out weeds.
    In between the beds we will lay cardboard, feed bags, old cloth.. just about anything we can find and then bury it all with woodchips in hopes of keeping those weeds down. In the beds I hope to just hoe, hoe, turn, turn and turn to get every new weed seedling.
    I hope to cover it all on the blog as it happens. I am making progress though. Tackled a bunch of the honeysuckle rootballs the other day.